December 3, 2010

The rematch

More news about: Bethel | St. Thomas
Jared Schultz
Bethel relies heavily on freshmen in the receiving corps, such as Jared Schultz.
Photo by Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com

By Brian Hunsicker
for D3sports.com

The football adage goes that it’s hard to beat a team twice in the same season. It’s a central theme when teams from the same conference meet in the playoffs, as Bethel and St. Thomas – two MIAC foes – do Saturday.

Both coaches agree, but up to a point.

St. Thomas coach Glenn Caruso sees positives and negatives: the benefit of one more win, though that’s tempered by the fact that his team cannot afford any letup in its preparation. Bethel coach Steve Johnson said that he’s been asked by media outlets about the Royals seeking revenge for the Oct. 23 loss; that’s not a factor, he said, since both teams will still need to execute the fundamentals.

Home for the holidays
According to the NCAA's mileage chart, this is the shortest travel matchup of the playoffs.

Miles traveled by UST's opponents: 4,272
Miles driven by Bethel: 1,214
Saturday's round trip: 20

But this is a game that figures to go beyond platitudes; the two schools are neighbors, after all, their campuses are separated by less than 10 miles. Their regular season matchup was a taut affair, with Tommy Becker’s interception in the final minutes allowing the Tommies to close out a 10-6 win. Local media has been paying attention too: Johnson said his team got a jolt out of ending practice one day this week, only to find crews from three television stations waiting to do interviews.

And, as Johnson said, it will come down to fundamentals.

“They’re very comfortable in their own skin,” Caruso said of Bethel. “They play great defense, they can run the football and they take selected deep shots.”

Steve Johnson
Glenn Caruso
Bethel coach Steve Johnson, top, St. Thomas coach Glenn Caruso know each other's team well.

Indeed, St. Thomas’ offense – which ranks 14th in Division III in points per game – and Bethel’s defense will be the marquee matchup. The Royals’ unit boasts incredible team statistics: top 10 nationally in rushing defense, scoring defense and total defense.

That’s not to say the other the side of the ball for both teams won’t matter. The Tommies will have to find a way to stop senior running back Logan Flannery, who averages just over 138 rushing yards per game. Flannery hasn’t been held under 100 yards since a late October win against Concordia-Moorhead.

Bethel should also benefit from the return of left tackle Kyle Wahlund, who missed the Royals’ second-round win against Wheaton with an injury. Johnson said he expects Wahlund to be back in the lineup.

As with the pros and cons over meeting for the second time this season, both teams see benefits to having the game at St. Thomas. Travel will be easy for Bethel – unlike the past two weeks, which saw them travel more than 600 miles combined to Wartburg and Wheaton. And St. Thomas has a decided homefield advantage, boasting a 15-game winning streak at O’Shaughnessy Stadium.

Rarely does early December provide a regional rivalry game, and that – aside from the platitudes and the matchups – may make this game most interesting.

“The coaches, we’re tight-knit in this league,” Johnson said. “We want to beat the socks off of each other, and this is a rivalry. But it’s a rivalry that’s good, not a jackass rivalry.”

Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
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Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
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Final
at Massachusetts Maritime 32, Worcester State 14
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Final
at Endicott 37, Nichols 0
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MIT 30, at Maine Maritime 13
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at Buffalo State 40, Morrisville State 24
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at Salve Regina 48, Coast Guard 10
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Final
St. Lawrence 20, at RPI 14
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Final
at Framingham State 23, Western Connecticut 17
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Final
at Montclair State 21, Rowan 14
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Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
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Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 38, Bates 7
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Final
at Western New England 59, Curry 28
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Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
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Final
Colby 9, at Williams 7
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Final
at Middlebury 40, Bowdoin 3
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at Amherst 34, Hamilton 0
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Final
Kean 24, at William Paterson 13
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Final
at DePauw 66, Hiram 17
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Final
Franklin and Marshall 45, at Juniata 22
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Final
at Kenyon 31, Allegheny 7
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Final
Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
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Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
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Final
Lycoming 28, at Misericordia 24
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at Plymouth State 30, Mass-Dartmouth 14
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Final
at Husson 35, Alfred State 0
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Final
at Springfield 28, WPI 23
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Final
at Moravian 24, Dickinson 10
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Final
at Denison 45, Wooster 7
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at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
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at St. Vincent 57, Grove City 32
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at Susquehanna 55, Gettysburg 40
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Final
at King's 21, Lebanon Valley 17
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at Alfred 20, Ithaca 6
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Final
at Widener 25, Wilkes 23
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at McDaniel 30, Ursinus 27
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Final
at Muskingum 28, Marietta 10
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Final
at Minnesota-Morris 28, Iowa Wesleyan 27
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at John Carroll 42, Heidelberg 14
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Final
Ohio Northern 16, at Otterbein 10
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Final
Case Western Reserve 35, at Waynesburg 7
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Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
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Final
Rose-Hulman 23, at Defiance 15
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Final
at Centre 49, Chicago 27
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at Mount St. Joseph 38, Manchester 19
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Final
Hanover 49, at Anderson 25
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Final
at Merchant Marine 55, Rochester 7
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Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
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Final
Concordia-Chicago 42, at Maranatha Baptist 10
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Final
Washington U. 36, at Birmingham-Southern 21
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Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
Box Score
Final
at Northwestern (Minn.) 38, Martin Luther 20
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Final
at Eureka 28, MacMurray 13
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Final
at Westminster (Mo.) 35, Greenville 14
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Final
Dubuque 30, at Luther 17
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Final
Monmouth 52, at Lake Forest 6
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Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
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Final
at Augsburg 49, Carleton 17
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Final
Bethel 44, at St. Olaf 7
Box Score
Final
at Hamline 42, Gustavus Adolphus 40
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Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
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Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
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Final
at UW-River Falls 42, Southwestern 22
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Final
Simpson 17, at Buena Vista 9
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Final
at St. Scholastica 49, Crown 13
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Final
Cornell 46, at Beloit 41
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Final
at Carthage 27, Augustana 24
Final
Coe 48, at Nebraska Wesleyan 17
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Final
at Wartburg 56, Finlandia 0
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Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
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Final
Hendrix 42, at Millsaps 14
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Final
Illinois Wesleyan 45, at North Park 10
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at Macalester 34, Grinnell 0
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Final
at Ripon 33, Knox 19
Final
Illinois College 40, at Lawrence 15
Final
UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Final
Central 42, at Loras 34
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Final
at Geneva 35, Thiel 27
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Final
UW-Eau Claire 40, at Wisconsin Lutheran 14
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Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
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Final
UW-Stevens Point 44, at Adrian 19
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Final
UW-La Crosse 41, at Carroll 7
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Final
at Berry 41, Sewanee 3
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Final
Westminster (Pa.) 38, at Bethany 9
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Final
Ohio Wesleyan 29, at Oberlin 16
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Final
at Tufts 17, Wesleyan 14
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Final
Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Capital 35, Wilmington 21
Box Score
Final
at Southwestern Assemblies 23, Austin 17
Box Score Photos
Cancelled
Langston at McMurry
Video Live Stats
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Chapman 19, Trinity (Texas) 17
Box Score Recap Photos
Sep. 29: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Randolph-Macon at Shenandoah
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Sep. 30: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Emory and Henry at Washington and Lee
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Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
Box Score Recap
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
Box Score
Final
Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
Box Score
Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
Box Score Recap
Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
Box Score Recap
Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
Box Score
Final
UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
Box Score
Final
Central 42, at Loras 34
Box Score Recap
Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
Box Score Recap